Teaching Collegians How
It's called 'piling-on.' Not that celebratory heap o' fun in the end-zone that befalls the poor guy who's just scored a TD. No, I'm talking about a coaching strategy where, when having your opponent beat late in the contest, rather than letting up on the gas, choosing instead to continue the onslaught because "winning isn't everything, it's (just one small part of a massive ego trip)."
Defenders of the practice play dumb to the fact they'd be first in line at the complaint department if their guys got salted. And besides, they say, defenders are suppose to defend, it's why they get paid. True enough, but when your offense is clueless even a top-D gets gassed by Q4 and that's when the 'good judgment' is suppose to kick in.
Packers were up on Tennessee 34-0 entering the 4th last Sunday at Lambeau Field and proceed to tack-on three more 7s. Looks bad, right? A closer examination shows Mike McCarthy made the right calls. True, Titans were no threat up to then (0) and sitting Rodgers would've made sense, but coaches want to watch being too respectful for that's when disaster strikes. Then GB's final TDs were hard to avoid, coming off a nice return (Ross) and COP (@ TN 32).
Back in Wk-11 New England put up 59 vs. the Colts (24) but Indy's offense proved capable into the 4th quarter, making the Patriots point pile-up pragmatic & defensible.
Some accused Seattle's Pete Carroll of 'running-it-up' in recent wins over ARI (58-0) & BUF (50-17), but Hawks' minimal 4Q scoring doesn't support the claim.
The NFL and its fans take pride in distinguishing their sport from the college variety where loyalties shift to wherever the money blows and running up the score to boost poll position is SOP for most coaching regimes. On campus, putting up 70 on a badly beaten foe is the prevailing scum-line for many a BCS aspirant. Higher education? Sure, whatever.
So the next time you feel like verbally bashing Roger Goodell & friends, think again and be glad you follow a sport that still encourages on-field sportsmanship.
Quote of the Week
Deion Sanders on NFL Network Sunday night after watching a 4th quarter Tony Romo TD pass against the Saints: "Can anybody cover?" Not since you & yours retired, Sir.
Charles in Charge
Good news hearing Colts' Head Coach Chuck Pagano was given the okay last week by medical care-givers to resume his NFL duties after receiving treatment for leukemia. 'If it works don't fix it' is usually sound advice but in this case, successful back-up coach Bruce Arians should be more than happy to hand-back the reigns to the team's spiritual leader and get "Charles (back) in Charge."
They are sacred cows in America: the Chiefs of Staff, higher education, the business of medicine, NASA, religious entities and many not-for-profit 501(c)(3) charities. Always aim above the belt when challenging these heavyweights.
It's a lonely, frightening feeling that grips one tightly when suffering a serious health malady. So the NFL's effort to bring awareness to breast cancer would seem beyond reproach. That is until you sift through all that pink game-wear put up for sale and get to the bottom-line.
The Huffington Post and Business Insider report that just 5% of sale-proceeds reaches American Cancer Society coffers of which just over two-thirds of their donations will go to research and patients services (70.8%) ("Breast Cancer" / Huffingtonpost.com / 10-12).
Unless the pink parade is designed largely to indoctrinate female consumers into buying the NFL product under the guise of empathy and better health, this well-intended campaign cannot be considered a success.
Here's a New Year's resolution for NFL brass. Retire & replace in-game pink-wear and its cost of operations with an off-field advertising campaign that brings awareness to all forms of cancer and seeks to allot 1.5% of yearly NFL, TV network game broadcast, merchandizing (Nike) and stadium vending net-revenues to a variety of cancer-related NFPs that includes ACS but with an emphasis on research-focused foundations.
Cherry Picks Week 17
Baltimore Ravens (10-5) @ Cincinnati Bengals (9-6) (12-30 / CBS 1:00)
Steelers tout #1 defense, so a win @ Pitt should be sweet, right? Wrong. Had Bengals pounced and dictated terms last Sunday they'd inspire confidence, instead they eke out a W on late gifting by Ben (2 INT). Ravens find groove vs NYG, learning life w/out Ray and look to close out RS play on a divisional high note. BAL goes 2-0 v CIN in 2012.
Houston Texans (12-3) @ Indianapolis Colts (10-5) (CBS 1:00)
Texans sheepish after another home beating by fickle NFCN (MIN), but as Miss Scarlett said, "Tomorrow's another day." Foster (heart tests OK), Schaub, Johnson and Watt will finish RS having earned paychecks. Another motivation-game as Texans look to bounce-back for PS and Pagano returns to Colts' sideline but HOU won't oblige and wins series.
Green Bay Packers (11-4) @ Minnesota Vikings (9-6) (Fox 4:25)
Packers v Bears is more historical, Dallas v DC more lucrative, Cincy v Pitt more Eastern, Oakland v KC more AFL cool and Peyton (DEN) v Tom (NE) more high-falutin but none is more visceral than this one. These fans hate each other so much they're happier seeing enemy lose than their own guys win. Not really, but it's close. Though Rodgers respite in '11 backfired, MM might hold-out Nelson, Woodson & Cobb per PS. WTW: QB-security (GB gives (46S) & gets (46)) and kickers (GB's Crosby (1-8 / 50+) vs MIN Walsh (9-9)). Adrian's averaging 150+ @ home last-4 and wants record vs GB who dread the thought. Vikings' win feeds me crow and punches ticket to PS.
Dallas Cowboys (8-7) @ Washington Redskins (9-6) (NBC 8:20)
Four weeks back and both squads looked headed for early golf. Is club-man Tony sad? If yes, he's not showing it as his QB game's picked-up while RG3 & sub KC have DC fans believing again. If brace keeps Rob in pocket (2 @ PHI), all the better as it's only way to titletown. If Dallas had rush-more (31O / 33S), they'd be 11-4. Though DC has terrific tackle-trio in Fletcher, Riley & Hall, pass-D poor (29 / Foles 345) and expect Romo to matriculate. So too expect Morris to motor but at-risk Rob gives Cowboys edge & win.
NFL Hunch Line